Volume 25 Number 96
                      Produced: Sun Feb  2 12:58:48 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Black Box on Hand Tefillah
         [Eliezer Finkelman]
Candy (was Holy Minhagim)
         [Yisrael Medad]
         [Ronald Cohen]
Conversion Process
         [Howard Gontovnick]
         [Eli Birnbaum]
Hypertension and Kosher Chicken
         [Shimon Schwartz]
Kohanim on Planes, Bone Marrow Transplants
         [Jonathan Ben-Ezra]
         [Zvi Weiss]
         [Janice Gelb]
Simchas Choson V'kallah
         [Gershon Dubin]


From: <Finkelmans@...> (Eliezer Finkelman)
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 1997 15:12:56 -0500
Subject: Black Box on Hand Tefillah

Someone asked me about the history of the little black box which many
men have on their hand tefillah, but not on their head tefillah.  My
questioner thought that perhaps the box serves the ritual purpose of
covering the hand tefillah.

After a bit of research, I found that the Mishnah (Megillah 4:8) require
the hand tefillah not go on outside the sleeve, and Rashi iterprets that
Mishnah to require that the hand tefillah be covered to fulfill "a sign
for you" (Ex 13:9) and "not a sign for others" (see Rabbi Eliezer's
derashah in Minahot 37b).  Some later authorities cite require that the
hand tefillah be covered with a sleeve.  I did not find anyone who saw
the little box as serving this purpose.

I therefore continue to believe that the little box serves to protect
the hand tefillah from losing its blacking to the friction of the
sleeve.  The head tefillah, warn uncovered, needs no such protection.  I
do not have any proof for this belief.  Also, when did the little box
first appear?  When did people start to use it?

Perhaps one of the readers of Mail-Jewish can tell me about the history
of little black boxes.


Eliezer Finkelman


From: <isrmedia@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 96 16:19:19 PST
Subject: Candy (was Holy Minhagim)

 Our Rav, Elchanan Bin-Nun, prohibits throwing candy altogether as it is
"bal tashchit", contributing to the destroying of edible food.
 When we pointed out that Rav Mordechai Eliyahu permits wrapped candy to
be thrown, he indicated that the schule decorum is upset by the throwing
and resultant commotion created.
 Although most Israelis do not have the "aim on target" ability that
baseball veterans developed in American congregations, a good case for
preventing physical damage would be a cause for limiting the practice.

Yisrael Medad
E-mail: isrmedia


From: Ronald Cohen <cohen@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 1997 08:48:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Cheese

Regarding cheese, the follwing is posted at

--start quote---

Why Wouldn't Cheese Be Vegetarian?!?

A crucial ingredient in the production of most commercial cheeses is an
enzyme that comes from the lining of the stomach of calves, called
rennet. Sometimes an enzyme from pigs is also used.  Obviously, this is
of concern to vegetarians, since these are products obtained from
slaughtered animals. According to the American Heritage Dictionary,
"rennet" is actually the lining of the fourth stomach of calves and
other young ruminants, but this term is also used to refer to the enzyme
that is extracted from the stomach lining for use in making
cheese. "Rennin" is another word for this enzyme, although it is less
commonly used. These enzymes are important because they are the
ingredients that cause milk to coagulate and eventually become cheese.

The Role of Animal Enzymes in Cheese Production

Following is a very informative letter we received from the Consumer
Service Department of Kraft General Foods, Inc., which clearly describes
the role animal enzymes play in the production of cheese.  We are
grateful to Ellen Schwarzbach of Kraft for taking the time to give us
such a thorough explanation.

"Thank you very much for asking if Kraft cheese products contain any
animal derivates. Our comments here apply only to products produced in
the United States. Many cheese products produced in the United States do
contain a coagulating enzyme derived from either beef or swine. The
process of changing fluid milk into cheese consists of coagulating the
milk by one of two commonly used methods, each resulting in cheese
having distinct characteristics.

The most common method of coagulating milk is by the use of an enzyme
preparation, rennet, which traditionally was made from the stomachs of
veal calves. Since the consumption of calves for veal has not kept pace
with the demand for rennet in the preparation of cheese, a distinct
shortage of this enzyme has developed.  Consequently, a few years ago it
became a common practice to mix the rennet extract from calves' stomachs
with a pepsin enzyme derived primarily from the stomachs of swine. These
enzymes convert the fluid milk into a semi-solid mass as one of the
steps in the manufacture of cheese. This mixture of calf rennet and
pepsin extract is quite commonly and widely used within the United

A more recent development in this area has been the use of enzymes
derived from the growth of pure cultures of certain molds. These are
termed microbial rennets. They are commonly used for the production of
certain types of cheese and contain no animal products. Kraft Domestic
Swiss Cheese (any Kraft Swiss not labeled "Imported" from a foreign
country) is made with microbial rennet. Apart from Kraft Domestic Swiss
Cheese, it is almost impossible for us to assure you that any hard
cheese product which you might purchase from Kraft or any other American
source is absolutely free of animal-derived enzymes.

The other method of coagulating milk is the result of the growth of pure
cultures of bacteria in the milk and the development of lactic
acid. These cheeses have distinctly different characteristics from those
produced using the coagulating enzymes. Our cream cheese products under
the PHILADELPHIA BRAND name (brick, whipped and soft varieties) and
Kraft Neufchatel Cheese fall into this category.  Kraft does not use
coagulating enzymes in cheese of this type, but we cannot be sure what
other manufacturers may use. Our process cheese and process cheese
products are made by grinding and blending. With the aid of heat, cheese
is made by either one of the two methods of coagulating mentioned
above. Therefore, it is impossible for us to assure you that a given
American-made process cheese product is free of animal-derived enzymes
including pepsin and/or rennet."

 --end quote---

Thus there is no basis for assuming that non-kosher cheese do not
contain unkosher rennet.  Even rennetless cheeses are not trustworthy.
I was told a local natural food market had rennetless cheeses, and
indeed they were so labeled.  I investigated and found out that they
were selling regular rennet containing cheese, but "someone had told
them" that cheese make in the U.S. no longer contained rennet--thus they
labeled their cheeses rennetless.  This is why rabbinic supervision is
necessary--"vegetarian" or "natural food" sources without rabbinic
supervision are simply not trustworthy.  (I learned this the hard way
years ago after taking a bite of a "vegatarian eggroll" that had shrimps
in it.)

Finally, cheese is a processed food, containing various additives other
than milk and enzymes.  Thus is requires rabbinic supervision for
several reasons.  To trust that all cheese is kosher is, I believe, a
great error.

Ronald Cohen			FAX and phone: 202-537-3951
Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington
5251 Broad Branch Rd., N.W.,  Washington, D.C. 20015


From: <howardg@...> (Howard Gontovnick)
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 14:26:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re:Conversion Process

I am currently looking for information regard the process of conversion to
Judaism.  Could someone recommend  a selection of sources.

Sincere appreciation
Howard Gontovnick
Graduate Student
Concordia University (Montreal)



From: Eli Birnbaum <birnbaum@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 23:50:36 +0200
Subject: Hebron


So they signed... For months the issue of Hebron has been in the
forefront of world news. What is the story behind the story.

The Student and Academics Department has prepared an in-depth
look at Hebron (Chevron) which examines the geographical, Bibical and
historical  ties to one of the most contested pieces of real estate
in the region.

See "Hebron the History" at http://www.wzo.org.il/encountr/hebron.htm

                  World Zionist Organization
               Student and Academics Department


From: Shimon Schwartz <shimmy@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 1997 11:18:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Hypertension and Kosher Chicken

From: <ohayonlm@...> (Lisa Halpern)
> ...patients with high blood pressure (who therefore require a low-sodium
> diet)is that they have an extremely difficult time adequately reducing
> sodium while still eating kosher chicken.  

Why not broil the unsalted chickens?  My understanding is that individual
poultry parts, except the heart, can be kashered thusly.  Of course, this
limits the cuisine somewhat.  :-)

Steven (Shimon) Schwartz
With Rebecca, Forest Hills, NY: <shimmy@...>
NYNEX Science & Technology, Inc., White Plains, NY: <schwartz@...>


From: <jbenezra@...> (Jonathan Ben-Ezra)
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 12:25:03 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Kohanim on Planes, Bone Marrow Transplants

I've only been lurking in the background for only a week, so I may have
missed some of the pertinent postings.

On Jan 8, Steven White asks about Kohanim on planes.  I know that Rav
Moshe has a Tshuvah on this topic, although I will admit I have not read
it.  It is printed in its English translation in the book that Rabbi
Tendler wrote, translating and explaining many of his father-in-law's
medical teshuvot.

Zvi Weiss asked about bone marrow transplants, and harvesting cells from
blood.  This is called peripheral stem cell harvest.  The yield is not
as great as when one performs the harvesting from the bone marrow.  It
is most frequently used for autologous transplants.  The word autologous
means ones self.  In other words, the peripheral blood stem cell harvest
is done from the patient him/herself.  In a typical example, a woman
with breast cancer will be treated with chemotherapy.  As the body
recovers from the chemotherapy, the numbers of these stem cells (the
cells which will repopulate the bone marrow) increases.  The harvesting
is timed to catch the most numbers of these stem cells. (Sorry for
introducing medicine into this discussion group)

Jonathan Ben-Ezra


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 16:32:30 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Plagiarism

I have a very strong feeling that due to the "Frum" view that secular
studies are "really" a waste of time -- hence it is is but a short step
to syaing that it is OK to cheat/plagiarize, etc.  Witness what appears
to be the "dumbing down" of secular studies in the "frum" Yeshiva High
Schools (including the "innovation" of minimizing the English studies to
the point that the last year can now be almost entirely devoted to "beis
Midrash" (where they no doubt learn why ONLY Torah learning is
important...) with only one or two secular courses) -- at least in the
NYC area.  I think that Regents at least provide a "floor" of competence
and the use of cheating/plagiarism ends up subverting that "floor" and
allowing one to learn almost nothing based upon the fact that secular
studies are really a "waste of time" anyway.  Can anyone relate the
incidence of cheating/plagiarism to the weltanschuung that *appears* to
be expressed by Rav Schach SHLITA regarding secular studies?



From: <janiceg@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 1997 11:53:17 -0800
Subject: Shidduchim

In Vol. 25 #50, Tanya Scott writes:
> I'm finding all this talk about Shidduchim a little distressing.  There
> appears to be an unwarranted emphasis on "having" instead of "being."
>   What about spiritual qualities, don't these rank anymore?  How can you
> expect to find out the nature of a person from a list of externalities
> that could apply to thousands of people.  Perhaps if Anonymous made a
> specific request for someone who was known to be kind, thoughtful
> etc. he'd have a more interesting selection of women from which to
> choose.  And of course, one often attracts those qualities that one
> projects.

Qualities such as "kind, thoughtful" and so on are difficult to
quantify, and identifying whether a person has these qualities is imho
the main reason one wants to get to know the other person for more than
three dates! Externalities are much easier to list and they nicely serve
as a first "gate" for compatibility, but certainly similar temperaments
and values are also necessary, and I think can mostly only be
established in person and over a little bit of time.

We've already read many tales here of shadchanim who misrepresent even
easily verifiable factual criteria like background and interests; can
you imagine what they would do with intangibles like "kind" and

Janice Gelb                  | The only connection Sun has with this      
<janiceg@...>   | message is the return address. 


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 1997 12:16:40 PST
Subject: Simchas Choson V'kallah

>out invitations with two times on them.  One is an early time for the 
>Chupa, say 6:00, and the other a later time for a Kabbolas Panim, say 
>9:00.  Those who attend the chupa stay for dinner, those who do not 
>come later to be mesameyach the chassan and kallah (to make the 
>newleyweds happy), i.e. to dance.  At the Kabbolas Panim, only cake, 
>drinks and Yerushalmi kugel are generally served.  This tends to 
>drastically reduce the cost of the wedding.
	This is coming into vogue in the States in certain circles.
Those not invited to the entire dinner may be invited both to the chupah
and to "simchas choson v'kallah" which is essentially the way Carl
describes. It is not usually practical to come for the chupah and
the s.c.v., and many choose to come to the latter.  The scaled down
smorgasbords are also popping up here and there; we can all hope for
progress on this front.



End of Volume 25 Issue 96